Reuse an old Internet Router as W-Fi Extender

  • geoffers's Avatar
    Level 29
    My ISP just upgraded my Broadband Router, so I thought I’d share this simple trick to convert your old router into a (no cost) Wi-Fi extender.

    It’s very simple, not requiring much technical knowledge: maybe some Googling to find your way round the menus of your particular router.

    Before you turn your old router off to install the new one, go into the old router’s home page as Admin (login details are often on the back of the router) as follows…

    1. In the address bar of your browser type the ip address of the router If you don’t know this:

    a)
    In Windows, at a command prompt type ipconfig and look for the Default Gateway

    b)
    On an Android device, use an app like Wi-Fi Analyser which will give you all the details you need

    2. Login to the Router using the login credentials from the back

    3.
    Go to the advanced settings menu and…

    a) look for a dialogue box where you can change its Gateway IP address

    Your new router will quite probably be using the same IP, so you’ll need to change the IP of the old one to an unused IP – sensibly using a low number maybe.

    In my case the main router uses 192.168.1.254, so I’ve reset the old one to 192.168.1.2 Other ISPs might use say 192.168.1.1 for the main router, so again the next IP of 192.168.1.2 would be fine (as long a no other device is using it)

    Remember that this will be the IP address you'll use to access its Admin home page in the future.

    b) Look for an on/off toggle for the DHCP server and set this to “No” (this is the function which assigns IP addresses to other devices in your network, which will now be done by the new router)

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    c) Save your changes and turn off/disconnect the old router

    4. Install the new router

    To use the old router is a Wi-Fi extender, run an Ethernet cable from one of the Ethernet ports on the new router to another part of your house, and plug this into an Ethernet port in the old router, which becomes a hard-wired device on the network.

    That’s it – the old router will establish its Wi-Fi signal, with the SSID & password your devices are familiar with. It will probably be flashing an error light as it can’t connect to the broadband (as it's not plugged in) – if this annoys you just stick some tape over the light so you won’t see it any more.

    Sorted
    👍
    Last edited by geoffers; 15-02-24 at 06:35.
  • 5 Replies

  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    @geoffers

    You can also use the same method to configure an old router as a switch, thus gaining additional Ethernet ports for wired devices. Turn the wi-fi off and the router will use about half the power if you don't use wireless.

    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player. I DON'T work for or on behalf of EON.Next, but am willing to try and help if I can. Not on mains gas, mobile network or mains drainage. House heated almost entirely by baby dragons.
  • Mailman's Avatar
    Level 57
    @geoffers

    Slightly different but I use an Asus router plugged into my Virgin Hub set to 'Modem only' mode due to the Asus's superior WiFi performance compared to setting the Virgin Hub in 'Router Mode'. Works very well for WiFi in all parts of my bungalow (and outside in the garden).

    Another reason I use my trusty Asus router is its superior configurability such as port forwarding that I need for some gaming. The main PC is wired to the router via Ethernet and everything else is served by WiFi.
    Last edited by Mailman; 14-02-24 at 23:44. Reason: Additional info
  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91
    I use an old BT. hub in a similar manner . .Child Guests get the old hub wi fi which I can control their access to - by disconnecting the Ethernet cable!
    Current Eon Next and EDF customer, ex Zog and Symbio. Don't think dual fuel saves money and don't like smart meters. Chronologically Gifted. If I offend let me know by private message, but I’ll continue to express my opinions nonetheless.
  • geoffers's Avatar
    Level 29
    @geoffers

    You can also use the same method to configure an old router as a switch, thus gaining additional Ethernet ports for wired devices. Turn the wi-fi off and the router will use about half the power if you don't use wireless.
    👍 - my new hub only came with 3 ethernet ports, so I've done just that with the "older" old 4-port router I had, which effectively gives me 5 ports from the new hub now 🤓
    Last edited by geoffers; 15-02-24 at 06:46.
  • geoffers's Avatar
    Level 29
    c) Save your changes and turn off/disconnect the old router
    4. Install the new router

    Sorted
    👍
    Another worthwhile thing to do when installing the new router is to log into its Admin page and reset its SSID and Wi-Fi password to the ones used by the old router it replaced.

    This means that all your Wi-Fi devices will connect to the new router without needing to update their passwords as they won't know there's been any change 👍
    Last edited by geoffers; 15-02-24 at 08:33.